Updated 31 May 2013

Jesus in Australia?

If you're convinced that you're a reincarnation of a famous person, you can either phone the doctor, or you can cash in. What would you do, asks Susan Erasmus?


Imagine waking up tomorrow morning convinced that you're a reincarnation of Jesus, or Shakespeare, or Haile Selassie. You can either phone the doctor, or you can cash in. What would you do, asks Susan Erasmus?

Let me begin by saying I really believe people must have the freedom to worship/or not in whatever way they choose – as long as it makes them feel happy and secure, it doesn't rob them of their hard-earned cash to the point of poverty, and no people or animals are harmed in the process.

I am not intending to enter into any religious debate here. I have yet to see anyone being convinced that their religious view is wrong and someone else's is right – well not in News24's comment boxes anyway. So there seems to be very little point to debating these issues.

A straight face and an Aussie accent

But how can I not write about an Australian claiming with a straight face and a twangy Aussie accent that he is indeed Jesus?

 In fact, he says he 'remembers' the crucifixion, and that his partner is 'Mary Magdalene'. He claims that being crucified was not as bad for him as it was for her having to watch it. Mmm, I suspect not. Crucifixion was a harsh and cruel punishment and those who were crucified could take days to die. The Romans were not known for their humanitarian perspective on life. I am speaking purely from a historical perspective here.

But you have to admit, the reincarnation of Jesus-story is a PR angle second to none. Think of the workshops he can offer. And the books and CDs he can sell. The apps, the Facebook page, the tweets. This guy, called Alan John Miller (at least he hasn't changed it to something ridiculous yet) used to be an IT specialist and is presumably au fait with the finer nuances of the power of social media.

More PR needed

But his PR still needs a bit of work – in the video I watched, there were many empty chairs in the meeting room and heaps of unsold CDs/DVDs. And that despite his somewhat blasphemous-sounding claims that he raised his good friend Lazarus from the dead.

You have to give it to him – his looks must have been a bit of a bonus. He indeed looks like the medieval depictions of Jesus. And his girlfriend also has a certain ethereal look to her. I wonder whether he was told all his life that he looked like Jesus, and that might have given him the idea? Or whether he pitched up in a plastic surgeon's office clutching a copy of the Children's Bible? Call me cynical, but I am yet to see such refined nostrils on any man untouched by a surgeon's scalpel.

Reincarnations of the famous

Over the centuries many people have claimed to be reincarnations of famous people, notably Napoleon Bonaparte for some reason. Most of them were to be found in institutions with name tags around their wrists. If this guy really believes he is Jesus, I suspect his psychiatrist has her job cut out for her. Or she has already failed dismally, and so has the medication. If he knows he isn't, but is playing along for the power, the glory and the money, he is just doing what thousands of others are doing out there: parting a fool from his money.

But most of them are satisfied with being God's representative, or a cult leader or the Ultimate Supreme Being (in Wyoming) or whatever. This guy has gone for the mother lode. He really does have chutzpah. But then, according to him, it runs in the family.

Just one thing: would Jesus really choose Australia?

Susan Erasmus is a freelance writer for Health24.


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